Ode To George

Taking a break from mowing the lawn long enough to get a picture with George

 

There once was a dog named George.

My sisters or mom may remember better than me how we ended up giving George his name. Somehow in my single-digit years, mom and dad decided that three kids didn’t make a family chaotic enough and that it was time to have a family dog. So we adopted a mutt that was a lot of things, but mostly German Shepherd.  He was black with a light belly, white paws and some brown thrown in. He looked like a dog made by a committee.

I would guess I was 8 or 9 when George arrived.  I don’t remember a lot about him, but I recall he was full of energy. George developed a funny habit of running towards the back gate on the side of our house, which allowed him to jump high and peek over the fence. He would do two or three of those jumps in a row if he heard one of us out front.

His abundant energy was too much for our modest yard, so we would occasionally take him over to some nearby vacant fields to run him. Yeah, it was that long ago. There were vacant fields in Torrance.  It’s now a housing development. We would drive the car out on the dirt road towards the middle of the field and George would just go nuts. Toss a tennis ball and he couldn’t wait to go get it and bring it back.

As happens with pets and kids, the newness wears off and soon, it became my duty to bury the piles in the backyard. I remember him turning into more of a chore and the fun of having a dog started to fade away. Plus, I had the kids in the neighborhood to hang out with.

One day, while George roamed the backyard looking for something to do, he started sniffing around the bushes. He found a new smell and decided to see how it tasted. Sadly, it was snail poison. We had always put it out in the yard, the snails were something fierce. But apparently, this time, George decided to chow down. 

And George was gone.

I remember hearing the news and running back to that gate  he once jumped on so he could see the outside world. He rested on top of the garbage cans, wrapped in a blanket and would remain there until the Humane Society folks came by to take him away. I remember hugging him and bawling my eyes out, regretting every moment that I should have been playing with him, wishing to have back every second I resented him.

In those fifty-plus years since my time with George, two other dogs passed through my life.  Neither compared to the childhood friend that I enjoyed for only a couple of years, but who has stayed with me ever since. George was a tough act to follow. 

The least I could do is write down his story.

Tim Hunter

 

 

THE STORIES BURIED DEEP

archaeologyI’m a fan of history, especially my own.

And while the human mind can remember a lot of things, anyone who’s been around for a while knows, after a while, the old hard-drive gets full.  You can only remember so many things and with today’s information-overload society, I’m afraid a lot of those stories from years gone by are slowly being squeezed out.

 Or, they never made it here in the first place.

During this week’s visit to mom and my sister Debbie down in the hometown of Torrance, California, I picked up quite a few lost stories that were either squeezed out or simply forgotten. Some were never even heard, so I’m choosing to write them down so that either you or me can pull these out when we’re sitting around in the old folks home, wondering why we’re there.

I knew I was born in Gardena, a neighboring city to Torrance, but the story I had always heard was because Torrance didn’t have a hospital of its own. It turns out they DID have a hospital, but the night the water broke and delivery became a matter of time, MY PARENTS COULDN’T FIND THE TORRANCE HOSPITAL!  So they went to the closest one, which was a hop, skip and a jump over in Gardena. I heard this story as we stopped by the site where the elusive hospital once stood.

Hospital Where I Wasn't Born

                The Hospital Where I Wasn’t Born

I ended up having a 30+-year radio career and of all the paths I could have chosen, radio called me. (and I was caller #9)  I found out during this trip down that my mom was also a fan of radio, as she pulled out her official membership certificate she received when she was 11-years-old.  A charter member, no less.

moms-radio-station-membership

During one of the many Happy Hours that break out when we get together, my sister Debbie blurted out some stories one night that I may have heard before, but had forgotten. For example, at her high school graduation from Torrance High School, right after they announced her name, I yelled out at the top of my lungs, “Thank God!”

Then there was  the time that my buddy Tank and I picked up Debbie at the airport in Seattle. (back when you could greet people at the gate)  The moment we saw her, Tank yelled out, “That’s her, officer!  The one with the backpack!” 

Call it frugal, call it cheap, but I was reminded of another tradition of growing up Hunter.  These days, every kid has their own cell phone. But “back in my day”, they had these things called ‘phone booths.’  Each of us busy kids were given a dime.  Say, for example, if my basketball practice ended at 4:30, when I was ready to be picked up, I used a dime to operate a pay phone. I would call the home number, let it ring once, then hang up!  My parents recognized the Hunter code to go pick up a kid, because hanging up without the phone being answered gave me the dime back and I would be ready for the next time.

Dig around your family history and you’ll probably uncover some “almost never was” stories. For example, I can’t imagine being raised in any other home than the one in the middle of the street where my mom has continued to live for 64 years. But apparently, the only house that was available in that development was the one down the street on the end of the block, next to a very busy Hawthorne Blvd.  However, the sale fell through on the eventual Hunter residence and the rest is history. 

Just a few shares about my family story, if nothing else, so that I can look at this blog in the future and remember some of those mini-details that successfully escaped my mind.

I’d like to encourage you to do some digging of your own, to see what nuggets you can uncover.

Tim Hunter 

PS–I also found out that even though Torrance is a fairly large city, with a population of 150,000 people, there are no cemeteries within the city limits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stan the Scan Man–Part 2

 

boreson-nomo-tallulah-04

It’s funny how closely connected we really are, especially if you’ve been in the Seattle area for a while.

I’m a newbie, having just been here since 1973 with only a few years off in Yakima for bad behavior. Again, once you’ve put in a few years and you start talking with the people you’ve met, you’ll find some link between you and just about anybody.

Last night, I was at the Opus 111 Group client appreciation event held at the Ruth’s Chris in downtown Seattle. Working the welcome desk was Donna Driver, who works part-time and fill-in for Opus. She’s also the sister of Opus’ annuity expert, Bill Driver.

Donna and I originally found out we had a connection a couple of years ago when she brought in her school photo book and showed me a picture of her back in 6th grade along with her teacher, Ernie Templin. Yes, my father-in-law. It turns out that she is also married to a Norwegian and we have often bumped into her at the various Nordic events around town.

But the topic last night was the passing of Stan Boreson. Donna is a Seattle lifer and grew up with TV heroes like Brakeman Bill, Captain Puget, JP & Gertrude and, of course, KING’S Klubhouse with Stan Boreson. But since she doesn’t have a blog or a Facebook account, she emailed a story that she wanted to share with me. It seemed the perfect follow-up to my previous blog about Stan.

Every kid who lived in Seattle in the ’50s has a Stan story.  Mine dates to 1958 when I was inspired by him to take accordion lessons.  It just so happens that we lived at 75th and Mary NW, and Stan and the Daquila family had an accordion studio at 75th and 15th NW.  The deal they had was that if you signed up for lessons, Stan would come to your house and bring your accordion and give you your first lesson.  Be still my heart!  I could hardly contain myself when he arrived – with the dogs!  I became an avid accordionist taking lessons from one of the teachers at the studio (her name was Donna, too).I got ready for a full size model for which my parents paid $250 (that’s 1958 dollars.)  Stan brought the new accordion to my house and gave me my first lesson on it – did I mention he brought the dogs?  Boy, did I love that accordion.  In fact I played it for a good six months after my parents shelled out the cash before I got tired of practicing.  That ended my career as a Lawrence Welk hopeful, but I did learn to read music and I like to think Stan launched my career.  I still have the accordion and drag it out every once in a while.  I should probably buy Book II and see if I can work my way through.

A funny thing happened at Opus yesterday.  I went into Bill’s office and said how sad I was the Stan had passed on.  I said, “Do you remember when he came to our house?”  And Bill piped in, “And he brought the dogs!”

A whole generation delighted in the King’s Clubhouse and the good clean fun we had.  We can ALL sing the song!  Thanks, Stan!

Thank you, Donna for sharing!

I know that right now, Stan is getting the answer to the age-old question: do they allow accordions in heaven? Since I’m pretty sure God enjoys a good laugh, I’ll be Stan has received a really nice one.

Tim Hunter

The Year in Preview

busy-calendar

Not that busy. But close

The last of the Christmas decorations have been packed away and even the Seahawks pennants and memorabilia that decorate our family room have been put back into our Hawks Box. That’s my cue that it’s time to head into a New Year. Another 12-month cycle of events that make up my annual routine. All things I enjoy doing and that I plan on doing for as long as people will have me. I know all too soon there will come a time when it will be time to pass along the torch to someone younger so that these traditions can continue.

Oh, new events and adventures always present themselves, but every January as I stare into the face of a New Year, I can count on these events being a part of the months ahead:

JANUARY–A pretty calm month. It’s my mother-in-law’s birthday month, so there are events around that, but in a good year, the first month of the year is spent seeing how dry the Christmas tree can get before we take it down and how far the Seahawks will go.

FEBRUARY–My first auction of the year with the gang at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran in Ballard.

MARCH–More auctions. This month, my biggest one up at the Xfinity Center in Everett for the Everett Rowing Club. The following night, I’m auctioning things off at the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle’s annual Fishcake & Meatball dinner. Yes, Ma, I finally made it. Oh and March Madness.

APRIL–Outside of Easter on the 16th, a pretty calm month.

MAY–Could there possibly be anything more in this month? (apparently making up for April) Opening Day of Boating Season, Six family birthdays (including my wife), Mother’s Day, PLUS Syttende Mai (Norway’s Constitution Day) which means a day-long celebration in Ballard and yours truly back as the voice of the parade for my 5th year.

JUNE–As month’s go, another fairly calm one, although this year will also include the Nordic Heritage Museum auction (I’m sorry–Auktion) and then, the third weekend in June signals the beginning of summer and usually means a cabin weekend up at Lake McMurray to celebrate Midsummer with a giant bonfire.

JULY–The 4th of July means you’ll see me in downtown Bothell doing the play-by-play for their annual Freedom Festival Parades–a kiddie version, followed by the Grand Parade.  Then, there’s Seafoodfest in Ballard, which means I’ll take the stage and emcee another Lutefisk Eating contest. I believe I’ve done 9 of them, just in case anyone’s keeping track.

AUGUST–One of the events I love to attend is “Raise the Woof”, when you can hang with the Husky Football team the week before their first game.

SEPTEMBER–The beginning of college and pro football and the Fishermen’s Fall Festival down in Ballard, where I’ll be emceeing another Lutefisk Eating Contest.

OCTOBER–I’m honored to be invited as one of the judges for the annual Bothell Chilifest

NOVEMBER–Really, what more can I saw but Apple Cup. The college season is fun, but this is what it’s all about and this year, it’s in Seattle. Oh, and Thanksgiving. This is also the month I get going on the annual Christmas CD and put together a Christmas music video. I actually filmed and recorded this year’s version back in December of last year.  Oh, and I co-auctioneer with buddy Dale Amundsen at the annual Greater Bothell Chamber auction.

DECEMBER–This month begins with a whirlwind 3-event weekend:

  • The Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce Julebord. A former Norwegian luncheon that I host every year at the Seattle Golf Club. I believe I’ve got five years under my belt now and it is one fun event.
  • The following day, I spend an hour roaming the grounds at the Country Village Shopping Center as their town crier and officially welcome Santa Claus to town. That’s been a tradition for 13+ years.
  • The Norwegian Ladies Chorus Holiday Concert is always that first Sunday in December and so that helps round out the weekend.

The second Thursday of December is “Fishermen’s Night”, a seafood-drenched night of drinking and comradery at the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard. A sell-out every year.

The night before Christmas Eve is a Norwegian gathering called Lille Juloften. (Lilly-YOOL-often) Basically a night of partying to warm up for the Christmas marathon. They drink Gløgg. I don’t.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are naturally drowning in family events.

Then, several days later, on the 29th, it’s my wedding anniversary. This year is the big 1-0!

Of course, there are meetings for Norwegian Commercial Club, the Greater Bothell Chamber of Commerce, the Northshore School District General Advisory Committe and a couple of other groups I’m involved with. Toss in things like a son’s wedding and a couple of trips to California and that pretty much packs out the year.

If I owe you money, now you know where to find me. I hope our paths cross as much as possible in the coming year and for many years to come.

Make it a happy one!

Tim Hunter

The Most Valuable Thing You Have

If someone asked you, “What’s the valuable thing you have?”, what would your answer be?

It should be ‘time.’

It’s the secret to being able to do the things you want to do in this life and it all begins with realizing just how precious it is.

Time is a limited resource. When you’re younger, you’ve got all the time the world. As you add decades to your life, you hit that point where you realize the road is a lot shorter ahead than what’s behind you.

This topic came to mind when I was looking through some old photo albums and I started doing the math. It was the 1960s, which were my kindergarten through 8th grade years. Take a moment to wander back to that time for yourself and see what you remember. What were your parents talking about? What was going on in the world?

As any fan of history knows, the 1960s were tumultuous, filled with riots, wars, assassinations, racial strife, free love, and social evolution.  There’s a lot I remember about that time (and I have to do it while the thinker is still working properly) but what prints the most in my brain is my parents and their references to World War II.  Guys were sent off to war and did not see their families or sweethearts for decades. There was rationing and a genuine fear that the enemy could win and take over our country.

This is where the math part comes in. That was in the 1960s, when they were remembering the 1940s. That’s 20 years.  To put that into perspective, it would be like us talking about the 1990s, which to the younger generation seems like forever ago.  However, to us seasoned citizens, it seems like yesterday.

All this to say that the events that take place today are the ones we’ll be talking about in a fast couple of decades, which our children and grandchildren will treat like ancient history. It just goes by so quickly.

So, while not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, my biggest personal goal for 2017 is to continue what I’ve been doing the past couple of years and making every moment count. Not in June, when this is over with, or the fall, when I tackle something else and get it out of the way. Now. Today. This moment you’re spending reading the ramblings I’ve slapped down on this cyber page.

I have been blessed with many life lessons and reminders that we only have so long on this planet.  We’re here now and some day we’ll be gone. But why worry about the second part of that equation, when you can focus on the here and now.

The world is far from perfect. But I’m convinced that by taking each day as it happens, while taking steps to make the days ahead even better, we can each maximize our time here. Not for others, but for ourselves.

This week, reconnect with someone you’ve been meaning to sit down with and get caught up.  Grab coffee, send a long-winded email or a Facebook Private Message.  Reaching out to those who matter to us has never been easier and, because of that, we can tend to take it for granted.

Years ago, during my brief stint at 100.7-The Wolf in Seattle, I discovered a whole bunch of really great country music songs. I hadn’t paid much attention to them, but when you play them on the radio, you find yourself listening to the words. This Tim McGraw song really resonated with me and I hope you’ll set aside a couple of moments to enjoy it.

I love this concept. Live like you were dying.  If you found out you had a year left, you know you’d change the way you live.  So, how about doing that now, while you’ve hopefully got many years to go and make each of those years count?

Minute by minute.

Thanks for stopping by friends. Now, get out there and live!

Tim Hunter